After a lengthy questioning and brainstorming process, I noted some key opportunities they were missing out on. But I also left with one major impression: These people need an extreme image makeover!
The minute I opened the door to the motel office, I encountered a cloud of cigarette smoke. Posted in the cramped space was an entire wall of signs blasting assorted warnings: "Lost-key charge $50"; "Lost beach-badge fee $65"; "Late checkout fee $20/hour"; "No Jacuzzi after 11PM"; "No more than 4 people to a room"; "No pets"; and on and on with no-nos, admonishments, and potential fees.
Tim gruffly answered the phone, "Motel." Meanwhile, there were two dogs panting from behind a fenced-in area, I sat in a dilapidated chair, and the place looked like it could use a good dose of Mr. Clean.
Tim and Tina are as nice as can be. They're hardworking people who pride themselves on running a sparkling-clean, family-oriented motel. But the image they project - from the smoke-infused air to the intrusive posters to the lack of phone finesse - could be turning customers off.
Your image - and specifically your business image - is part of your marketing strategy and must not be overlooked.
What comprises your image? For starters:
Your office - Is it clean, organized, comfortable, and welcoming? Are restrooms shipshape? Is the lighting too dim or too harsh?
Your phone-side manner - Do you and your staff have a pleasant phone demeanor? Do you sound rushed or impatient when you answer? Do you clearly state the name of your company? Do you return calls promptly?
Dress code - Do you require a particular dress or uniform code?
In-office behavior - Is your staff cracking gum or blowing bubbles? Are they gossiping where others can hear? Are they courteous-even when clients push their buttons?
Music or TV - Is it tuned to a channel that's appropriate for all ages? Is the volume too loud?
Now, give some serious thought to these questions:
What image do you want your business to project? Are you doing everything you can to project that image?
What improvements could you make to:
- Your office?
- Your phone demeanor?
- Your dress code?
- In-office behavior?
- Other areas?